Copywriting.org

How to Create a Writing Sample: A Comprehensive Guide

table and coffee

When showcasing your writing prowess, knowing how to create a writing sample is crucial for both copywriters and business owners. A well-crafted piece highlights your skills and sets the stage for potential clients or employers to evaluate your abilities. In this blog post, we will explore the details of constructing a writing sample to help you stand out from the competition.

We’ll explore techniques such as setting time limits, answering essential questions before starting, crafting compelling content for fictional clients, and developing strong headlines with SEO optimization in mind. Additionally, we’ll discuss utilizing online platforms to build an impressive portfolio and studying job postings to tailor your samples according to specific client needs.

Finally, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on outlining, drafting, and editing – ensuring that every aspect of your writing sample showcases your expertise effectively. So let’s dive in and learn how to create a writing sample that truly represents you!

Setting the Stage When Creating Writing Samples

Begin to create writing samples by setting a time limit and reverse-engineering your idea. Answer eight important questions that will guide you through the entire process, ensuring that your writing sample is on-topic, engaging, informative, and aimed at generating high traffic.

Establishing a Time Limit to Stay Focused

To create an effective writing sample, setting a time limit is essential. This helps you stay focused and prevents procrastination or getting lost in unnecessary details. Depending on the length of your desired piece, allocate anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours dedicated solely to crafting this vital portfolio component.

The 8 Essential Questions to Answer Before Creating A Good Writing Sample

Prioritize answering these crucial questions before diving into creating content:

  1. Your target audience: Who are they? What do they need?

  2. Your objective: Are you trying to inform or persuade?

  3. Tone of voice: Should it be casual or formal?

  4. Type of content: Is it an article, social media post, email campaign?

  5. Main message points: What key takeaways should readers have after reading your piece?

Addressing these questions gives you a clear roadmap for crafting an engaging and informative writing sample showcasing your copywriting skills. This approach will help potential clients or employers see the value you can bring to their projects.

Setting the stage for your writing sample is essential in ensuring you stay focused and answer all of the important questions. Crafting compelling content for fictional clients requires understanding how to create briefs that effectively outline desired topics or objectives and demonstrate versatility with made-up scenarios.

Crafting Compelling Content for Fictional Clients

When beginning as a copywriter or aiming to get into a new area, it is vital to demonstrate your proficiency in meeting client demands. If you lack experience or samples in a specific area, consider creating content for fictional clients based on similar requirements. This approach allows potential employers or clients to assess how well you can fulfill their needs without direct prior experience.

Creating Content Briefs Outlining Desired Topics or Objectives

The first step in crafting compelling content for fictional clients is developing detailed content briefs that outline each piece’s desired topics and objectives. A strong content brief should include:

  • A clear target audience and their pain points

  • Key messaging points and calls-to-action (CTAs)

  • Writing style/tone of voice guidelines and any branding elements that need to be incorporated

  • An overview of the structure, format, and length of the piece

This will help guide your writing process and demonstrate your ability to create comprehensive project plans tailored to meet client goals.

Demonstrating Versatility with Made-Up Scenarios

In addition to showcasing your skills through traditional writing samples like blog posts, articles, or case studies, don’t hesitate to experiment with made-up scenarios that highlight various aspects of copywriting such as social media captions, email campaigns, product descriptions, landing pages, etc. These diverse examples will show potential clients your versatility and adaptability to different writing styles, formats, and platforms.

For instance, you could create a fictional case study about how an imaginary company increased their sales by 50% after implementing your email marketing strategy. Or write a series of social media posts for a make-believe brand that demonstrates your ability to engage with target audiences using witty captions and eye-catching visuals.

By crafting compelling content for fictional clients in various scenarios, you’ll build up an impressive portfolio and gain valuable experience working on diverse projects to help you stand out from the competition when applying for copywriting jobs or pitching new business opportunities.

By applying these techniques to fictional scenarios, copywriters can hone their craft and create compelling content for any client. With strong headlines and SEO optimization, businesses can ensure that the right people find their message quickly.

Utilizing Online Platforms and Building Your Portfolio

As a copywriter or business owner, you must showcase your writing skills on various online platforms. This increases your exposure and helps you build a professional portfolio that can secure more freelance work opportunities in the future. In this part, we’ll cover selecting the ideal platform(s) to share your content and tips on forming a remarkable online portfolio.

Choosing the Right Platform(s) for Sharing Your Work

The first step is selecting where to publish your writing samples. There are several popular platforms available, each with its own set of advantages:

  • Medium: A user-friendly blogging platform that allows any freelance writers to share their content with a vast audience while maintaining ownership of their work. The site could be used as a placeholder for a writing portfolio.

  • Contently: Specifically designed for freelancers looking to showcase their portfolios; Contently offers tools like analytics and project management features alongside publishing capabilities.

  • LinkedIn Pulse: Ideal for professionals who want to establish themselves as thought leaders within their industry by sharing articles related directly or indirectly to their field of expertise.

  • Your Own Website/Blog: Creating a personal freelance writing website or blog gives you complete control over design, branding, and content presentation while allowing potential clients easy access when searching specifically for your services.

To maximize exposure, consider using multiple platforms tailored towards different audiences or purposes (e.g., Medium articles targeting general readership versus LinkedIn Pulse pieces aimed at industry peers).

Tips on Organizing an Impressive Online Portfolio

Once you’ve chosen the right platform(s), it’s time to organize your writing samples to showcase your versatility and talent. Here are some tips for creating an eye-catching online portfolio:

  1. Select Your Best Work: Curate a collection of your most compelling, well-written pieces that demonstrate your range as a writer.

  2. Create Clear Categories: Organize your work into categories based on subject matter or type (e.g., blog posts, whitepapers, social media campaigns) to make it easy for potential clients to find relevant samples quickly.

  3. Include Contextual Information: For each sample, briefly describe the project’s goals and how you achieved them through your writing. This helps visitors understand the purpose behind each piece and demonstrates problem-solving skills.

  4. Showcase Testimonials & Client Logos: Including positive feedback from past clients or displaying logos of companies you’ve worked with can boost credibility and instill confidence in prospective employers or customers.

By utilizing online platforms and building your portfolio, you can create a strong presence for yourself in the digital world. By studying job postings and company needs, you can craft writing samples tailored to meet specific client requirements.

Studying Job Postings & Company Needs

To make the most of your writing samples when applying for jobs or projects, take the time to study job postings closely. By analyzing what potential clients are looking for and understanding their needs, you can tailor your writing samples to demonstrate your suitability for a particular project. In this section, we’ll discuss strategies for analyzing job postings and company needs effectively.

Analyzing Job Postings for Relevant Skills and Requirements

When browsing through job listings, pay close attention to the skills and requirements mentioned in each posting. Make a note of any recurring themes or keywords frequently appearing across different listings – these may be important aspects employers value highly in candidates.

  • Look out for specific industry jargon or buzzwords related to your niche; incorporating them into your writing sample will show potential clients that you’re knowledgeable about their field.

  • If a job listing mentions certain software tools (such as Adobe Creative Suite) or platforms (like WordPress), consider showcasing relevant experience with those tools within your writing sample if applicable.

  • Note any desired qualifications listed by employers – such as years of experience, educational background, certifications – so you can emphasize similar credentials in both your resume and accompanying writing samples where appropriate.

Tailoring Your Writing Samples to Fit Specific Client Needs

Beyond simply studying job postings themselves, it’s also crucial to research individual companies before submitting an application or proposal. This deeper understanding allows you not only tailor content but also address pain points they might face currently, which could ultimately set them apart from other applicants vying same position/project opportunity:

  1. Peruse the organization’s webpage and investigate their blog entries or news area to get an understanding of their language, articulation, and informing approach. This will help you align your writing sample with their brand identity.

  2. Examine the company’s social media profiles (such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) for insights into what topics they frequently discuss or share – these could be potential areas where your expertise might come in handy.

  3. If possible, find out who key decision-makers are within the organization (e.g., marketing director), then tailor samples accordingly by addressing specific concerns/issues relevant to what individual roles/responsibilities may entail.

Incorporating this level of research into your writing sample creation process demonstrates your commitment to understanding client needs and showcases how well-equipped you are to address those needs effectively. By tailoring content specifically for each prospective employer/project opportunity encountered along way – chances of securing the desired position increase exponentially.

Examining job openings and employer demands can offer insight into the capabilities needed to be successful in your desired position. With this knowledge, it is time to move on to crafting your writing sample – outlining, drafting, and editing – which will help ensure that you are putting forth your best work.

Crafting Your Writing Sample – Outline, Draft, Edit

Creating a high-quality writing sample involves following a structured process that includes outlining, drafting, and editing. This ensures your work is polished and professional while showcasing your strong writing skills.

The Importance of Outlining Before Drafting

An outline helps you organize your thoughts and ideas before diving into the writing process. It serves as a roadmap for your content, ensuring it flows logically from one point to another. To create an effective outline:

  • Identify the main points or arguments you want to cover in your writing sample.

  • Create subheadings for each main point or argument.

  • List supporting details under each subheading.

  • Arranging Sections for Optimal Clarity

  • Keep in mind the guidelines like word count

A well-structured outline makes it easier for you to write and helps potential clients quickly grasp what they can expect from hiring you as their freelance writer or business writer.

Tips on Self-Editing and Proofreading

Once you’ve completed your draft, it’s time to edit and proofread. This step is crucial because even small errors can leave potential clients questioning whether they should trust you with their projects. Here are some tips for self-editing:

  1. Take a break: After finishing your draft, take some time away from it before starting the editing process. This allows you to approach it with fresh eyes and spot any inconsistencies or errors more easily. (source)

  2. Read aloud: Reading your work out loud can help you identify awkward phrasing, run-on sentences, and other issues that might not be apparent when reading silently. This technique is particularly helpful for ensuring your writing has a natural flow. 

  3. Use editing tools: Tools like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor can help catch grammar mistakes, passive voice usage, and other potential problems in your writing sample. Though editing tools can be helpful, don’t just take their word for it; check that their recommendations fit the context of your writing.  

  4. Get feedback from others: Having someone else review your work can provide valuable insights into areas where you may need improvement. Ask friends or colleagues to read through your writing sample and offer constructive criticism.

    Incorporating these tips into your self-editing process will produce a polished final product that effectively demonstrates creativity and professionalism.

Conclusion

It demonstrates your writing ability to craft compelling and persuasive pieces that can help you stand out from the competition or in a job application. Devote energy to formulating, authoring, amending, reworking and perfecting your work to reflect the most favorable representation of yourself as a competent writer. With dedication and hard work, creating a writing sample can be one of the most rewarding experiences for both experienced writers and those just starting out.

If you’re a copywriter yourself, make sure to click the orange button below to get interviewed on Copywriting.org: